The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in EEOC v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe RR on Monday, February 27, 2012.
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioners filed ADA discrimination charges with the EEOC, alleging discrimination based on a perceived disability after not being hired by Respondent following a conditional offer of employment and a medical screening procedure. Respondent’”s position was that it rescinded the offers based on the medical requirements and safety concerns incident to the . . . position, that it did not view either applicant as “disabled,” and that both applicants were free to apply for other positions within BNSF for which they were qualified.” Later, EEOC enhanced the scope of the investigation and issued a subpoena to Respondent requesting nationwide computer files to search for pattern and practice discrimination. Respondent did not comply with the administrative subpoena, and Petitioner requested the district court enforce it, which it declined to do.
On appeal, the Court found that “[n]othing prevents the EEOC from investigating the charges filed by [Petitioners], and then—if it ascertains some violation warranting a broader investigation—expanding its search. Alternatively, nothing prevents the EEOC from aggregating the information it possesses in the form of a Commissioner’s Charge. . . . But nationwide recordkeeping data is not ‘relevant to’ charges of individual disability discrimination filed by two men who applied for the same type of job in the same state, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in reaching that conclusion.”